Warning: This article deals with the death of a major character from the Game of Thrones Season 5 finale “Mother’s Mercy.” If you aren’t caught up, get out of here! Valar Morgulis …
Well congratulations, show fans. You are now united with book fans as far as Game of Thrones goes (and ahead, in two cases). We can all mourn Jon Snow together. Or is he really dead?
Showrunner Dan Weiss told EW:
Dead is dead. We would hope that after seeing the scene and the way it’s shot that the answer to that will be unambiguous in the minds of the people watching it. It should be pretty clear what happens in by the time you’re done seeing that scene. It’s not an, ‘Oh what just happened scene?’
Author George R. R. Martin has always been more ambiguous regarding Jon Snow’s fate in the book series, though, saying both “Oh, you think he’s dead, do you? My readers should know better than to take anything as gospel,” and “If there’s one thing we know in A Song of Ice and Fire is that death is not necessarily permanent.”
However, Kit Harington seemed to put things in no uncertain terms when speaking to Vulture:
Jon dies. It’s final. He’s dead. It’s like I’ve been sitting on this big fucking secret. I’ve had to watch what I say, but it’s a big moment, it’s a beautiful ending, and it’s how I wanted to go.
One thing Game of Thrones has not done particularly well as a show is play up the importance of its own mythology. And with that, the possibility for Jon Snow’s resurrection. There have always been a lot of fan theories about how Jon Snow might live after the mutiny of the Night’s Watch, including the idea that he might “warg” into his direwolf, Ghost (which all the Stark children have the ability to do, just not all of them actually realize or achieve it). But Ghost has been almost completely absent from this season. Plus, visually, I’m pretty sure we’re not going to get a direwolf POV in Season 6.
The most likely possibility is that Melisandre will resurrect Jon through her fire magic and the religion of R’hllor, which is also the magic used by Thoros of Myr to keep resurrecting Beric Dondarion. I know show watchers are probably not remembering any of this, which is, again, the show’s fault for not making more of it. If Jon isn’t resurrected in this way, then maybe it wasn’t important. But the fact that Melisandre returns to the Wall at the end of the episode for no other real reason gives it some credence. Plus, it would still allow Harington, Weiss, and others an out. Jon Snow is dead. He just doesn’t stay dead. Maybe.
All of this plays into the legend and prophesy of Azor Ahai, who close show watchers will know is who Melisandre believes Stannis to be. Well, clearly he’s not, so what are some other options? First of all, the legend of Azor Ahai says that he was able to save mankind from the Long Night (and the White Walkers) by slaying them with a dragonsteel blade called Lightbringer (reminiscent of Jon taking out one of the Others with Longclaw in “Hardhome”). Further, Azor Ahai is supposedly a Targaryen descendant, which, if Jon’s parents are indeed Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, would make him a candidate. But the prophesy also mentions a 3-headed dragon (meaning, possibly, dragon riders), which could suggest Daenerys and Jon and a third (Tyrion?) are all the possible saviors who eventually work together to save mankind.
For all we know, the Night’s King will show up with Ned Stark’s bones, Catelyn, Robb’s direwolf-sewn-on head, and Benjen as generals in his army of the dead, and will recruit Jon as well (and Bran is controlling them all in his mind. And where the hell is Rickon?) Why not? The Starks always said Winter was Coming … maybe it’s them!
But seriously, do you think Jon Snow is dead dead? Do you think he lives in the books but dies in the show? And if so, does that essentially mean he isn’t a key part of the story? Does that even make sense at this point?
For more Game of Thrones Season 5 finale coverage, peruse the links below:
- GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Power Rankings: Who Really Rules Westeros?
- GAME OF THRONES Featurette Goes Inside the Season 5 Finale
- GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Finale Recap: “Mother’s Mercy”